He was rehabbing off to the side during training camp, but there was no public timetable for his return.
Hartline opened up to NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington on the amazing severity of his offseason ailments.
On a flight from his native Ohio back to Florida, he started feeling the effects of what would later be diagnosed as appendicitis.
“My stomach was hurting so bad that I couldn’t sit in my seat,” Hartline told Darlington. “I’d put the tray down on the seat in front of me to bury my head, but I kept ending up in that bathroom just so I could sit by myself.”
Soon thereafter, Hartline had his appendix removed, but complications in the surgery’s aftermath left him in a hospital bed for 12 days. Not only did he lose 25 pounds, but his calf, which he had injured prior to his latest health setback, was unable to heal properly — he then injured that calf on the first day of training camp.
As the tough physical breaks mounted, the Dolphins’ fourth-year receiver started to question whether he would recover in time to start the season.
“It was more mental than anything,” Hartline said. “Physically, I knew I’d come back eventually. I had to keep the faith. But mentally, I just wanted to be out there. I’ve never been hurt like that.”
Hartline, of course, has made it all the way back from the trying offseason, leading the league (549 yards) in receiving through a quarter of the season, including a Dolphins-record 253 yards in the Week 4 OT loss in Arizona.
Read Jeff’s full story here
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